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2009 - 25 years of Santa Barbara

Timothy Gibbs : «Santa Barbara's fans made my stint possible.»

 By Nicolas, exclusively for Santa Barbara : le site Francais, December 2009

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On December 23 2009, Timothy Gibbs agreed to take on his time to answer exclusively the questions of Santa Barbara : le site Francais. The actor talks about his debuts, the Santa Barbara years as Dash Nichols, and his career since his departure from the show.

The beginnings before Santa Barbara

At first, I'd like you to tell us a little about you : How old are you today ? Where do you live ? Do you live in couple or have children ?

No sweat : I'm 42. I live in the South of Spain and New York City, NY. These days I am in Spain more than New York purely out of love for the place. I am not living "in a couple" situation or anything resembling one. I'm single now. Divorced - to be precise. No children - I'm a child myself, for God's sake...

To know you better, what did you brought from yourself in the character of Dash Nichols ?

Pretty much everything. Dash and I were nearly homogeneous. Save for the rape of Julia. I was hanging on for dear life on that show. It was my first soap and I was perpetually stunned by the speed at which everything was accomplished, so there was no time for twenty-something Tim to get too creative. I threw all of my expressions and emotions in there and just hoped I didn't look overly stupid amongst all the pros that were roaming around that place.

You started your acting career very young. How did you start in the business ?

I was playing what we call in The States "Pop-Warner" football or little league football - American football, not that Euro footsie stuff. I was 11 years young. My coach was a commercial director. He went to my parents and said, "Mr. and Mrs. Gibbs, your son is smaller than my 8 year old daughter and he sucks at Football - he's gonna get killed out there". So... He put me in one of his commercials to save my life. The rest, my friend, is history. Literally.


The time of Santa Barbara

How did you start in Santa Barbara ? Did you ever watch the show before ?

I actually had seen the show before but only because I dated a girl that was an actress on the show long before I was on it. She dumped me after a year or so - because my parents wouldn't let me leave with her to New Jersey to celebrate Christmas away from home. I was only 17. She needed a man without a curfew. The point is : I used to tune in Santa Barbara just to see her - when my brothers weren't around to give me hell for it...

I auditioned for Santa Barbara and got lucky. That's how it started on that show. Like any other show practically : You go into a room somewhere in "Hollywood" and you leave your guts on the floor while the executives are thinking about where or who they're eating for dinner. That time, they were paying attention. They said, "Okay... We'll take this one".

Do you remember how Dash was presented to you at first ?

"Dash"... What a f-cking name, right ? Louise Sorel used to call him "Semi-colon". That always made me smile. To be honest, I wasn't paying much attention to who or what the others may have thought this guy (Dash) was. The truth is nobody knew who he was. And until you make him something - nobody cares.

Ecology, which is now a huge society matter, was at the time (1990) quite new for the soap-opera world. Did you feel, at the time, some responsibility in playing a character involved in such a cause ?

No. I did not feel any responsibility to the environmental aspect. I should have, but I didn't. I was too worried about getting laid. Santa Barbara was always at the tip of the spear like that though. That show lead the way on many subjects of relevance.

As an ecologic activist, Dash first showed a nice side of himself, and there was a real chemistry between you and Nancy Grahn. But after the rape scene, the vision that the audience had of Dash really changed. What was your opinion - and maybe fears - when you discovered this storyline ? How did you deal with the sudden unpopularity it caused to Dash ?

I never really looked back on Dash or ever gave him much thought. I did that on purpose. On soaps, characters change their entire moral compass, along with all of their relative desires and principals at the drop of a hat. One day you are saving a group of unconscious nuns from a burning convent and the next day you are you are in bed with one of them - AFTER finding out she's your cousin. An actor would have to be more of an idealist than I to invest seriously in a character developed within such a format.

The days after the rape storyline were quite hard for Dash. Fortunately, he met Katrina Ruyker, a woman who didn't care of his dark past, and who helped him to win some redemption. How did you live, as an actor, this second life for your character ?

I didn't. That storyline was a failure because it under estimated the power of two very important elements. One : Rape has a way of resonating with the ladies, and it's not something to f-ck around with. In the end, Dash should have been guilty as sin. There should have been no question that Julia was telling the truth. The sickening idea of this character going on to become half an inspiring love story is an insult and a perfect example of what I talked about in my previous answer.
And "B" : The power of Nancy Lee. Don't f-ck with Nancy Lee.

After all the storylines you played in Santa Barbara, how would you define Dash ? More a good guy than a bad guy ? A victim of the events that happened ?

Dash was a rapist. Other than that, he was a terrific guy !

Who were your favorite male and female acting partners as Dash Nichols ?

Nancy was intense, a real force. I loved working with her. Jed All an was a ball to work with because he reminded me of my father. Jed is a world champion yeller. Not in real life, just as his character, "CC". The nature of our characters meant that we were always after each other. I used to get to face his ferocity and say all of the stuff to him that I couldn't have said to my father (and remained breathing) - or at least I used a tone that released that energy... It felt great.

What are your best remembrances from the show, on a relational and on a professional level ?

A Martinez has and electro-angelic field of goodness around him. I remember him as a remarkably available, warm, fright-free dude. I am nothing like that, so his projections really resonated with me. I also enjoyed humming Jack Wagner songs, to Jack himself, as I passed him in the hall. I don't think he noticed. He was too busy looking at his reflection in his 9 iron.

You left the show one year and a half after your arrival. What were the reasons of your departure ? What did you think of the end that was reserved for Dash ?

Oh... Actually, I didn't give as much thought to it as you might expect. By the time the dark clouds began forming around my character, we had a new Executive Producer ride into town on a bright red Ferrari - with his initials on the plates. As you might guess, I enjoyed working with him - almost as much as I enjoy a non-anaesthetized root canal. Anyway... I heard that a soap-like show called Judith Krantz's Secrets was about ready to start filming for a year in Italy. I begged for an audition. Not long after, I unzipped the Dash suit and moved to Italy.

What storyline for Dash would have helped you to stay in Santa Barbara ?

None. The bells were destined to toll for Dash. In fact, I remember thinking they tolled to late. At 18, I decided to remain an actor, in part, so that I could embark on a profession where the ground beneath my feet would always change. When I was an actor, I never had the desire to play one role. That wasn't the finish line for me. As many roles as I could fool them into giving me - that was my motto.

Did you keep in touch with members of the cast or the crew after your departure ? Did you continue to watch the show during its last year ?

No. Every once in a while you see a face on a hotel TV somewhere and you say, hey !!! I know her !!! But that's about it. And no. When I left the show, I never remember looking at it again.


These 18 last years after Santa Barbara and now

You played in daytime soap-operas, nightime dramas, movies... What difference do you find in all these kind of programs as an actor ? Which one do you prefer ?

I like all of them. Really. For me it has nothing to do with the medium. It is all about the experience of inhabiting a character. It is all I care about in regard to acting. Give me a character. One that I can dig down inside me until it strikes the foundation of the well that holds my emotions, then I can let all those buried feelings escape through it. Simple.

Can you come back on the following years of your career after your departure from Santa Barbara ? Are you still working as an actor today ?

I am proud to say that I am a business owner today. I have been for sometime. I sold my construction business in New York in 2008. I am now a founding partner at Gardenia. Gardenia is a branding and marketing firm based in Barcelona and New York. Our emphasis is on web-centric communications. Check it out here : www.gardeniagrowth.com

It seems you have also been used as a model for a video game ! Can you tell us more about this unexpected work ?

One of the greatest projects I have ever worked on. It took a lot of work to produce Max Payne 2 the way Remedy and Rockstar did. I worked on it for a total of four months, stretched across the span of a year. Motion capture. Photo session after photo session. It was not so much like acting, but, rather, modeling - just without the height and good looks. Oh... And my nephews finally think I'm cool.

Do you have projects for the next year ?

All I do nowadays is create marketing and promotional tools for businesses, skydive, and surf. In that order.

What would you like to say to all the Santa Barbara fans all over the world ?

Thank you. Fans are the driving force of any show. Santa Barbara's fans made my stint possible.


Timothy Gibbs skydiving in Empuriabrava, Spain.

Once again all my thanks to Timothy Gibbs for his availability, his kindness and his frankness.

Bonus >
A new press article about Timothy Gibbs never seen on the site